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And this, in fact, was another hallmark of the stereotypical opera seria: the improvised ornamentation by the singer of the aria, which most often occurred in the repeated da capo section, was the pride and joy of each singer, especially the culmination in the grand cadenza, which, although much criticized by the classicists, was nonetheless an integral part of vocal performance in the Italian opera.
A frequent problem for composers of opera seria was that, due to the rather structured forms of almost all ingredients of the music, it was difficult to achieve much contrast, in either action or music.
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In essence, then, the opera seria, in the hands of most composers, was little more than a mere stringing together of many different arias and recitatives.
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The opera seria of the later 1700's and early 1800's underwent many alterations: most notably, the da capo aria lost its preeminence, while more spectacle, grandiose choral and orchestral effects were added to the score, and the boundary between aria and recitative became much less definite.
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These newer arias, as stated, had become much longer, but had retained their simple melodic lines, as well as "a certain blandness of rhythm and harmony." On the whole, in the period after 1770, the increasing diffusion and freedom in opera seria can be seen, and this phenomenon eventually led to its abandonment as a pure and strict dramatic form.
The other prominent form of opera in Italy in the eighteenth century was the Italian comic opera, or opera buffa.